Earning revenue from a blog is tough. It’s tougher than most make it seem to be, especially when you’re talking about on-page revenue. It’s one thing to earn money by performing services on the side such as writing, design, or consulting. It’s quite another to persuade the general public to click the right links and make the right purchases in an ethical way.
Recently, I noticed a quick increase in my earnings from Amazon. As a matter of fact, it went from a few bucks a month up to enough for a nice steak dinner for the family in about three weeks’ time. I analyzed some of the factors that made it happen and wanted to pass along some tips here for other Associates to learn from.
Use Book Reviews as Blog Content
You can post banners in your sidebar, but chances are, not many people are ever going to click them. In fact, they may just distract readers from more pertinent and useful resources. What does work, however, is making book reviews part of your content. In other words, turn a review into a blog post and make it useful.
One very significant factor I’ve noticed is that when I simply post about a book’s availability, it receives a moderate amount of click-throughs, but when I actually share “here’s what I learned,” people seem inspired to go grab a copy for themselves. So instead of a title like “A Review of Some Boring Book” I use a title that offers valuable content from what I read, such as “15 Things You Should Know About Smokeless Fire Crackers” and then feature the book prominently in the content of the post.
Recommend Books With Almost Every Post
This won’t work for every blog, obviously, but if you’re in a niche full of readers and you write for their interests, you can almost always point to a book you’ve read that goes along with your content. I’ve started adding in “recommended reading” either in the middle of my post or at the end. I see it as helpful. The book recommendation becomes part of the content.
Make Connections With Authors and Publishers
Some of my own most vital connections have come from offering positive reviews (when justified) of books and then conversing with the authors, who almost always appreciate the plug. What sometimes happens is the author then promotes my post, which promotes their book, which produces sales. Publishers understand this, which is why nearly every publishing company has some kind of “free books for bloggers” program going now. Blogs sell books.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in the Amazon Basket
This should be standard advice that applies to almost any kind of monetization effort. Don’t put all your hope in Adsense, or affiliate links, or any other single source of income. Diversify. You can do so without overwhelming your readers with advertisements and sales copy. My rule of thumb is if the revenue source isn’t as valuable to my readers as it is to me, I eliminate it.
Unless your blog has an enormous following, the Amazon Associates program probably isn’t going to bankroll your kids’ college education, but it might just be good date night money. What have you found effective with Amazon links?